After a bit of a chaos, Wendy Simms and I arrived safely at our hotel on Thursday evening after flying from Belgium to Madrid. Madrid is one big city. So much different than anything else I have experienced on this trip. It is actually quite impressive on this long holiday weekend. So many people. Lots of tourists. But I have to say that I was pretty happy to find a Starbucks right around the corner. I know, typical American, but to have a normal size cup of coffee to take with you is quite a luxury here. The dixie cup size was killing me. Not to mention the cost of the dixie cup. But it is pathetic, b/c there are about 5 of them within a 10 minute walk
This was pure happiness on Friday and Saturday a.m. But for race day, they open too late. Oh no! What to do???
I have never been so happy to have a starbucks in my hand.
The venue is about a 5 minute ride from our rather luxurious hotel. It is in a city park and one of the most urban venues I have experienced. Perhaps even more so than Fontana, if you can imagine that. The terrain is Sea-Otter-esque with lost of sandy loose trail. Not too much singletrack in this one. No scarey chutes either. It is more like a fast, long cyclocross race!
The dark line is the course. The 8k only covers a tiny part of the HUGE park.
Yep, that is the course. The sweet espana singletrack (!?!).
The views of Madrid from the top of the course. Pretty fantastic!
Yesterday I had a bit of a chaotic pre-ride, flatting on the second lap. My tire just rolled right off the rim on one of the descents. Good thing I wasn't going super fast. Then I found out my chuck for my co2 didn't work, so had to walk back. Then, my stem was too short to fit on the Maxxis compressor, so I put a tube in and somehow that had a hole in it right away, so no more riding for me. It didn't even last to get back to the hotel, but Wendy saved my butt and we made it back without walking. Whew! Dont' worry. I got it fixed, but am running a tube for the first time in years. Today I spent some time making friends. Alison Sydor, multi-time world champ, was putting her number on near the Maxxis tent (she is 80, I am 88), so I said, "sweet, you are in the back with me. I'll just get on your wheel and take a tow to the front." I guess my sarcasm didn't go over too well. Oh well. I still don't have someone to feed me tomorrow and it is going to be a hot one. 80 degrees. The weather is fantastic, but without water, it could be a hard race. Ahhh, the life of an unsupported rider.
I was anxious to see what 'danger' was on this course. Could it really be that bad???
It wasn't too bad. Brakes required (by me, anyhow), but nothing compared to the past 2 weeks.